The remains of former President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari was yesterday laid to rest at his country home in Shagari town, Sokoto State, after a funeral prayer attended by thousands of sympathisers from across the country. His body arrived the Sultan Abubakar International Airport, Sokoto at about 1:30pm via a private jet and was conveyed to Shagari for the funeral rites. The funeral prayer performed at his residence was led by Professor Shehu Galadanci prior to the final burial at about 3:30pm.
Those at the funeral prayer included the eldest son of the deceased and District Head of Shagari, Bala Shagari, federal government delegation led by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Gida Mustapha, Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami, Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika and his Agric counterpart, Audu Ogbeh.
Also at the funeral were Governors Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Abdul Aziz Yari Abubakar and Atiku Bagudu of Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi States, Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, Minster for State, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, former Governors of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa and Malam Yahaya Abdulkarim, Barrister Mukhtari Shagari, Deputy Governor of Sokhoto state, Alhaji Manir Dan Iya and Senator Aliyu Wamakko among numerous members of the National Assembly.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday 30th December arrived Sokoto State to pay his condolence to the family of late Second Republic President, Shehu Shagari.
Disclosing this, Buhari’s Personal Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, said the president signed the visitors register.
“On hand to receive Mr President and accompany him were Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu and Former Governor of Sokoto State Senator Aliyu Wamako.
“President Buhari signs visitor’s register after his condolence visit to the family of Late President Shehu Shagari in Sokoto on 30th Dec 2018. May his soul rest in peace.”
Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari was born in the northern Shagari village founded by his great-grandfather, Ahmadu Rufa’i, who was also the Village Head and took the name Shagari as his family name.
With his great wealth of experience in service, Shagari served seven times in a ministerial or cabinet post as a federal minister and as federal commissioner from 1958 to 1975
In 1954 Shagari was elected into his first public office as a member of the federal House of Representative for Sokoto west. In 1958, Shagari was appointed as parliamentary secretary (he left the post in 1959) to the Nigerian Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and that year he also served as the Federal Minister for Commerce and Industries.
From 1959-1960, Shagari was redeployed to the ministry for economic development, as the Federal Minister for Economic Development.
In 1960-1962, he was moved to the Pensions ministry as the Federal Minister for Pensions. From 1962-1965, Shagari was made the Federal minister for internal affairs. From 1965 up until the first military coup in January 1966, Shagari was the Federal Minister for works.
In 1967 he was appointed as the secretary for Sokoto province education development fund. From 1968-1969, Shagari was given a state position in the North Western State as commissioner for establishments.
After the Nigerian civil war, from 1970-1971, Shagari was appointed by the military head of state General Yakubu Gowon as the federal commissioner for economic development, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.
From 1971-75 he served as the Federal commissioner (a position now called minister) of finance. During his tenure as the commissioner of finance for Nigeria, Shagari was also a governor for the World Bank and a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) committee of twenty.
Meanwhile the family of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme (GCON), who passed on November 19, 2017, has sympathized with the family of the first Executive President of Nigeria, Shehu Shagari, who died on December 28, 2018.
In a statement issued on Saturday and signed by Ekwueme’s son, Goodheart Obi Ekwueme, the family extolled the late Shagari as an epitome of high moral leadership.
He was also described as one who had meritoriously served the country without any blemish.
The Ekwueme family also noted that Shagari had the most cordial working relationship with his Vice President (Ekwueme) at the time and both had greater hearts of service for the nation.
“They were more Nationalistic in their work relation and even though they both had different religious backgrounds, they were not polarized by the issues of religion and tribe.
“They were first and foremost Nigerians before Christians or Muslims, Fulani or Igbo. They were both selfless,” the family said.
The family also stated that Shagari again demonstrated his humility in his message through his son, Aminu Shagari, at Ekwueme’s burial, where he said he chose him as his Vice President because of his impeccable integrity and character.
Shagari through his son had said, “I’m not here to give undeserved praises on Ekwueme, whatever I say here I have told him so in his life.
“I never thought his last birthday was his last. He was younger than me.
“Death is a certainty and we will all face it one day.
“I chose him because he came across as a man of impeccable integrity and character.
“We worked harmoniously because we had the same vision. He was a deputy I trusted and mischief makers could not drive a wedge between us. His character remained impeccable. Even in death, his achievements cannot be diminished.”
The Ekwueme family expressed gratitude to God that Shagari lived to a ripe age and led an exemplary life and urged Nigerians of all walks of life to emulate him.
“We pray that Almighty God will comfort the family of the ex-president and all those who mourn him and will grant his soul eternal rest,” the statement added.
On Sunday 30th December in Sokoto State President Muhammadu Buhari paid tribute once again to the late President Shehu Shagari, directing that flags should fly at half-mast in military and para-military formations, as well as public buildings for three days, starting from today (Sunday).
In a statement he personally signed, President Buhari declared: “The late President represented almost the last link with the government of our Founding Fathers under Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. He was also the first elected President of Nigeria.
“The late Alhaji Shagari was a man of many parts: teacher, local authority administrator, politician, minister, and finally President. He served his country with dedication and moderation.
“Over the years, through interaction at the Council of State, he and I came to understand and appreciate each other, whatever the differences we may have had in the past.
“On behalf of the Federal Government, myself and family, I send my condolences to the people of Nigeria, particularly to the late President’s family and the Government and people of Sokoto State. May his soul rest in peace.”
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Saturday expressed sadness over the demise of the first executive President of Nigeria and elder statesman, Alhaji Shehu Shagari.Shagari, who was the first and only President of Nigeria’s Second Republic from1979 to 1983, died on Friday in Abuja at the age of 93. Governor Ambode described the late Shagari as a complete gentleman, a thorough bred democrat and philanthropist per excellence who contributed immensely to Nigeria’s growth and development.
“The late President lived an exemplary life; he was a democrat and a fine gentle man whose idea of power was that of being a tool to serve his fatherland and humanity. He was an elder statesman in the true sense of the word. He was also a detribalized Nigerian who was committed to the course of a united, indivisible and prosperous Nigeria. He believed so much in all inclusive governance and was one of those patriotic Nigerians who contributed in laying the foundation of a sustainable democracy in Nigeria,” Governor Ambode said.
While commiserating with the family of the late elder statesman, the Governor urged them to uphold the ideals he stood for, saying that the nation will continue to draw inspiration from his life and times. His demise, just like that of our heroes past, must never be in vain. There can be no better time to unite together to achieve a better and more prosperous Nigeria. On behalf of the government and people of Lagos State, I want to express our heartfelt condolence to the family of Alhaji Shehu Shagari on this great and irreparable loss. He was a pride to our country and we will surely miss him,” Governor Ambode said.
Former President Obasanjo and Jonathan Goodluck and leaders of Political parties also paid glowing tribute on the late Nigerian leader.